Working from home has become very common over the past two years and it’s not only for digital nomads and entrepreneurs anymore. Remote work certainly comes with some perks, like having the chance to work from the comfort of your home and staying in comfy clothes all day. Or maybe you’d prefer a cute little cafe or even the beach, and for some, it also means having more flexible schedules – sounds amazing, right?
Well, don’t be fooled, because working remotely might sound like a dream at first, but it can be hard to switch off. Don’t get me wrong, we love being able to work from anywhere in the world and being able to dictate our schedules, but sometimes it can be quite challenging to find the right balance between your work and personal life. Staying connected through technology and social media is only getting easier and it’s becoming more difficult for us to separate work from our personal lives. If you want to read more about how we look after our mental health click here.
We all know the struggle of trying to connect our work and personal lives and sometimes it’s hard to juggle it all in just 24 hours. Especially when you’re working from home, the lines between these two parts of your life can get blurred. Work often takes precedence over everything else in our lives. Our desire to succeed professionally can push us to set aside our own well-being. Checking emails at all hours, taking business calls during your lunch break or even worse, at the dinner table and working on our laptops on weekends.
Consequently, this leads to longer working hours, and less time spent on ourselves and oftentimes we don’t even notice it. We quickly feel overwhelmed and overworked, are more likely to become sick, or worst-case-scenario, suffer from burnout. If you’re not taking good care of yourself and your general wellbeing, it can also affect your relationships in a negative way.
That’s why creating a harmonious work-life balance or work-life integration is super important. It improves not only our physical, emotional and mental well-being, but it's also important for our career. So in today’s blog post I’d like to highlight the importance of having a healthy work-life-balance and share some tips with you that might help you on the way to improve yours.
Why a healthy work-life balance matters
Creating and maintaining a healthy work-life balance will positively affect not only your health and relationships but also your productivity and performance. Some of the most important benefits of a good balance are:
- An increase in productivity: having a healthy work-life balance will boost your productivity - in both your professional life as well as your personal life.
- A boost in creativity: with renewed motivation and less stress you will feel more creative and you’ll be able to come up with exciting new ideas.
- Reduced stress, anxiety and less burnouts: everyone gets stressed from time to time. However, you can avoid workplace burnouts and make some efforts to ensure this doesn’t happen by taking time off and leaving work at work.
- Improved emotional and mental health: You’ll see that with the right work-life balance you’ll experience a positive impact on your emotional and mental health. You’ll have greater control over your focus and ability to concentrate on the task at hand.
- A generally better wellbeing and feeling more in tune with yourself: a poor work-life balance can affect your wellbeing, from the flu to serious heart-related problems. By looking after yourself you can improve your body's immune response and significantly limit such health issues!
As you can see, a healthy work-life balance has a lot of important and crucial impacts on you. But achieving a healthy work-life balance is often easier said than done. It requires managing your professional and personal life in sustainable ways to keep your energy flowing, your minds and bodies healthy and your whole selves happy and content. We have struggled a lot to let go of our work and to differentiate between personal and work time in our daily life but we have some simple tips that helped us maintain a healthy personal work-life-balance, so let’s take a look at them.
Have a designated workspace
The first thing that most people neglect, is to differentiate their normal living space from their work space. They wake up and stay in bed or move to the coach and continue working from there. The problem is that this will make it much harder for you to disconnect afterwards. When you finish work after a stressful day and leave a physical office, it’s easy to stop worrying about deadlines, upcoming projects or moody bosses. But when you’re literally working in the same room you’re eating in, watching TV, or spending quality time with your partner, it gets incredibly hard to switch off and keep the laptop shut.
Setting ‘physical’ boundaries are super important but often underestimated. When you’re working from home, it would be ideal to have a separate “office” room so you can shut the door and physically leave your workspace. If you don’t have much space, you should at least invest in some office equipment and make your desk area look tidy and clean – you’re spending most of your day sitting at that desk after all. Treat yourself to a stylish and comfy office chair that supports your posture, a support stand for your laptop, blue light glasses, and so on. Believe me, it’s worth the money and your body will thank you later.
Psst - we are actually thinking about setting up a Club Life Design office in Bali... We can't wait for you to see this space 🙈
Set fixed work hours and take regular breaks
We know all too well how hard it is to define “working hours” when working from home or anywhere else remotely. That’s why it’s so important to set fixed hours for work if they're not given by your employer. If you decide to work from 9am until 5pm, then don’t do any work before and after. It’s your time off and you should take that seriously.
You need to make sure that you also take regular breaks. Once you sit down at your desk and get caught up with work, it’s so easy to lose track of time and to forget to eat lunch or to take a quick coffee break. Taking regular breaks throughout the work day is crucial for your health and productivity. Try to break up your work day and take small 5 to 10 minute breaks every 30 to 90 minutes: take a power nap, do some light stretches, or go for a quick walk around the park. Spend your lunch break outside, or maybe you can even go out and treat yourself to a healthy meal. Just make sure that you don’t spend it in front of your screen whilst replying to emails. It’s so refreshing for the mind to really take a break and you’ll quickly find that it’s easier to focus on important tasks again after you’ve taken a little time off in between work tasks.
Turn off notifications and unplug
While you’re in your “work hours'', make sure to switch off notifications that come from WhatsApp, Facebook, Instagram, etc to avoid distractions and fully focus on your work – you’ll get a lot more done in less time. And while you’re in your “off work hours” do the same - mute any work notifications. Nothing causes more subconscious stress than trying to enjoy an evening out with friends whilst receiving “super urgent” work messages from bosses and colleagues – especially if you only have one phone that manages your private life and work.
Develop a daily routine that works for you and stick with it!
Some highly productive people swear that daily routines and habits have changed their lives and put them on the path of success (we can attest to this!). The best habit for maintaining work-life balance is to have a healthy routine that serves as the foundation for your day. A routine can be any series of things you do every day at a particular time. This can be as simple as drinking your coffee or meditating for 15 minutes each morning, going for a walk in the fresh air while listening to an educational podcast, reading a book before you go to sleep or taking a nice and relaxing bath.
Everyone's routine will look different depending on your preferences and needs but try to include time for some healthy meals, as well as exercising at least three times per week. While you may think that you don’t have time to add exercise to your busy schedule, you will see that it’ll help you relieve stress, raise your energy level, improve mental clarity, boost your immune system, and make you happier, more engaged, and more productive.
No matter what your routine ends up looking like it should be something that makes you feel good and brings structure into your day. It kick-starts your morning with a fresh mind, sets the tone for the whole day and makes you look forward to the next. The goal is to find your personal routine that comes naturally to you each day and one where you don’t have to motivate yourself to carry it out.
This concludes my list of tips for a better work-life balance. It’s really important to consciously differentiate your work life from your private life, especially if you work remotely or as a digital nomad. Remember, your wellbeing should always come first. And if you ever feel like things are becoming too much and you can’t juggle it all on your own don’t be scared to speak up. Talk to your manager and explain how you feel. Maybe even take a few days off and go on a well-deserved vacation to reboot yourself and come back stronger than ever!
Lots of love and take care of yourself,